‣ Joel Embiid, the reigning league MVP, expressed regret over the departure of his former teammate Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers, stating he wished Simmons had improved his free throw percentage as it could have changed everything.
‣ Embiid also expressed disappointment over the missed opportunity of forming a trio with Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, and criticized his franchise’s decision to trade the draft rights to Mikal Bridges.
‣ ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith expressed strong disgust towards Ben Simmons, criticizing him for not fulfilling his expectations in Brooklyn and for prioritizing his earnings over his performance.
Joel Embiid Hates How Partnership With Ben Simmons Didn't Work Out: "That's The One That Got Away"
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral)
Ben Simmons’ stint in Philadelphia has been the talk of the town for quite some time. You might think there’s nothing more to add, but there always is. After moving to Brooklyn, the Aussie star has been the butt of many jokes. Fans have been trolling him for his decision, while others express their frustration over his lackluster performances.
The reigning league MVP, Joel Embiid, recently shared his thoughts on Simmons’ departure. This conversation happened during a chat with the up-and-coming player, Tyrese Maxey. The two 76ers players discussed a variety of topics on Maxey’s podcast, “Maxey on the Mic”. But, the most intriguing part was Embiid’s candid comments about Simmons.
Why was this so fascinating? Well, no one really anticipated Embiid to be so brutally honest. He didn’t mince his words, and that’s what made it so compelling.
A tweet from NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) on December 11, 2023, quoted Embiid saying, “That’s the one that got away.” The tweet linked to an article titled, “Joel Embiid Hates How Partnership With Ben Simmons Didn’t Work Out.”
Embiid confessed to his young teammate, “I’ve always been one of those people that didn’t believe [Simmons] actually needed a jumper. He was so good, he’s just a monster… almost as fast as you [Maxey]…. freaking monster, strong. I never actually believed he needed a jumper.” He further added that Simmons could have changed everything if he had improved his free throws to 75-80%.
Embiid, the current league MVP, couldn’t help but ponder how things would have turned out if he, Maxey, and Simmons had formed a trio. He reflected on the many mistakes made by his franchise, such as trading the draft rights to Mikal Bridges. He expressed his regret by stating, “I think that’s the perfect match… I think that’s the one that got away.”
Embiid’s comments were surprising, considering the success he and Simmons had during their four seasons together. Despite missing his rookie campaign due to an injury, Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists before requesting a trade in 2021.
Then, out of the blue, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith launched into a rant about Simmons. This happened ahead of Sunday’s In-Season Tournament championship game on ESPN. When asked about his feelings towards Simmons’ unmet expectations in Brooklyn, Smith didn’t hold back.
Smith expressed his disgust with Simmons, saying, “I am completely disgusted with him. I am completely disgusted with Ben Simmons and I think we all should be.” He didn’t mince his words, and his feelings were clear.
Smith continued, “I don’t care at this point that he’s injured. Too much time went by when you were not injured and you were not playing. But you certainly made sure that your cheque was in your bank account every single month.”
While Smith acknowledged Simmons’ mental health struggles, he didn’t believe it was a valid excuse. He concluded, “We understand that mental health is a huge issue, it’s serious and not something to be diminished or maligned in any way. But you know something, you think about your money. Every time you turned around he thought about his money.”